Draft law on secularism
Western Quebec School Board outraged
Secularism of the state was fully addressed by the Government of Quebec when it introduced a bill on the subject on March 28.
This bill sets clear guidelines and indicates that persons “in a position of authority” will no longer be able to wear religious symbols in the performance of their duties.
Prosecutors, police officers, teachers and principals of public elementary and secondary schools are among the people who would be affected by the law, if it were to be passed.
Perspective of the two local school boards
The Western Quebec School Board (WQSB), the only English-speaking board in the Outaouais, did not wait long before opposing the legislation “firmly”.
“We believe that cultural and religious diversity in our schools and our centre is a strength, and that it must be celebrated,” the school board said in a press release. “Western Quebec believes that the religious symbol worn by a teacher will not impact his or her ability to teach and provide quality instruction to students,” said Alain Guy, President of the WQSB.
For its part, the Commission scolaire des Portages-de-l’Outaouais (CSPO) says it does not want to take a position at this time. It is awaiting its Council of Commissioners meeting on April 11 to take a position on the matter. “We’ll see if we have to comment on the bill or not,” said Mario Crevier, President of the CSPO.
The government has already mentioned its intention to use a notwithstanding clause to ensure that its project proceeds while violating the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The bill will be under consideration in the coming months and the Legault government hopes that it will be passed in June. (Trans.: BA)